Those working in the legal sector use a huge volume of documents. Increasingly, these are created, prepared and transmitted in digital format, with some documents never even “touching the ground” in the sense of being physically printed. As of right now, that means that there a whole lot of PDFs flying around. As more and more courts accept or even mandate electronic filing (e-filing), it’s likely that legal professionals will see an even greater number of PDFs as time goes on.
Of course, they will need the right tools and know-how to make the most of PDF, and that’s where the combination of Debenu PDF Aerialist 12 and Adobe Acrobat Professional comes in. Acrobat itself is actually packed with useful features. In fact, there’s at least one book specifically aimed at helping lawyers use Acrobat. An all-in-one plug-in for Acrobat, Debenu PDF Aerialist 12 adds a significant amount of additional power, flexibility and automation potential to Acrobat’s already impressive bag of tricks. If you are a legal professional and wondering whether you could use Acrobat and Aerialist, please read through some of the specific tasks and functions outlined below:
- Create bookmarks and hyperlinks. Acrobat allows the manual creation of bookmarks and links. Debenu PDF Aerialist takes this a step further, though, and can create bookmarks or links based on keywords, headings, fonts, tables of contents, page references, PDFs, settings files, or folder locations.
- Manage, validate, audit and repair links and bookmarks. Aerialist can be used to configure, view, audit and validate links and bookmarks in bulk. Bookmarks and links can then be repaired.
- Redact sensitive content. Acrobat lets users remove content manually or automatically via keyword, key-phrase or pattern-recognition (i.e., credit card details, phone numbers, social security numbers, email addresses or dates). Acrobat can also remove information that might be less obvious, like metadata, stored form data, or obscured content.
- Search PDFs. Acrobat lets users search for text within PDF documents. Electronically-authored PDFs are already searchable, although scanned documents might need to be processed before they are searchable. Luckily, Acrobat features optical character recognition (OCR) technology that processes scanned PDFs, recognizes text and makes it searchable.
- Manipulate pages. Acrobat can insert, delete, extract or rotate pages from PDFs. These can come in very handy if one needs to add missing pages, remove redundant content or extract sections of a document for review purposes. Acrobat can also rotate pages on a document level, and even allows users to, for example, rotate only pages in landscape orientation to ensure a natural on-screen reading experience.
- Combine or merge PDFs. With Acrobat, users can combine a collection of files (PDFs and others) into a single PDF. This might be useful when separate, related documents need to be combined as part of a single motion or pleading. Debenu PDF Aerialist adds even more advanced merging functionality, allowing users to specify and validate page ranges for merging.
- Split a PDF into multiple files. Acrobat can split a large PDF into smaller files based on a specified number of pages, output file size, or by top-level bookmarks. Aerialist adds a substantial number of additional “split-by” options, including user-defined page marks, bookmarks of any level, and specific page range. Aerialist can also update bookmarks and links so that they continue to work between the newly split PDFs.
- Edit text. Acrobat allows users to edit text content, which makes updating dates or fixing typos at the last minute a simple process. This only works for searchable text, but non-searchable text can be rendered searchable using Acrobat’s OCR functionality.
- Highlight text. The commenting tools in Acrobat can be used to mark or highlight searchable text. The best thing is that Acrobat maintains a list of all comments, including highlighted text, that can be easily accessed at any time.
- Forms. Acrobat users can scan in a standard paper form, add form fields, and then save the resulting PDF. The new electronic form can then be completed using Acrobat whenever it is needed, saving time and hassle. It’s even possible to “flatten” the form data by merging it into the page content using Acrobat’s Action Wizard (see: Adobe’s blog post).
- Bates numbering. Acrobat can quickly, and efficiently apply Bates numbering to many PDF files at once, and in an order set by the user. With Aerialist, Bates numbering can be applied as part of a customized stamp profile that may include other information, such as file name, author, and date.
- Apply signature or exhibit stamps. Acrobat can be used to create and apply custom stamps, including signatures. It can also produce stamps that are created dynamically, such as those including the current date, or which automatically increase in increments. With Aerialist, it’s possible to create a stamp profile that consists of multiple, user-defined stamps that can be applied throughout individual documents or document collections.
- Ensure standards (e.g., PDF/A) compliance. In many jurisdictions, e-filing regulations require that submitted PDFs conform to document standards. Typically, these correspond to, or are adapted from, the formal PDF standard for long-term archiving, commonly known as PDF/A (AKA ISO 19005-1:2005). Acrobat’s preflight functionality allows users to validate PDFs against a range of profiles, including PDF/A, and to fix compliance violations. This system is flexible enough to permit the creation and use of custom profiles, such as that corresponding to ISP/NP 19005-1, a standard adapted from PDF/A that is used for e-filing.
Even alone, Acrobat offers a powerful set of tools for document creation, preparation and validation for a legal professional. The addition of Debenu PDF Aerialist brings with it significant additional functionality, particularly in the areas of combining, splitting, navigating and complex stamping of documents. Don’t just take our word for it, though. There are even fully-functional trial versions of both Acrobat and Aerialist available from the Adobe and Debenu websites, respectively. Using these free downloads, potential users in the legal industry can see for themselves how easy it is to improve their document creation, processing and management using this powerful software combination.